Android Auto now available in 18 new countries, including Brazil, Russia, & India

Google has today announced that Android Auto is now available in 18 new countries. In the tweet announcing the additions — which required more than a little bit of time to decipher — Google squeezed in 18 flag emoji (that, notably, weren’t available on Android until just recently with the Android 6.0.1 update)…

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Former Moto head Rick Osterloh is leading Google’s new hardware division, including Nexus, Glass, & more

A recent Lenovo reshuffle saw long time Motorola head Rick Osterloh leave Motorola. Now, Google (via Re/Code) has confirmed that it just hired Osterloh to lead a new hardware division that encompasses such product lines as Nexus, ATAP, and even Google Glass…

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Lenovo plans to pre-load Microsoft apps on its devices, possibly including Moto phones

Microsoft and Lenovo have today announced a new patent cross-licensing deal that will result in a handful of Microsoft apps being pre-loaded onto Lenovo’s various Android smartphones. These apps would include the company’s most popular apps, possibly Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and Skype.

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Reports confirm more Samsung Galaxy S8 specs, including removal of headphone jack & Home button

A new series of reports today from SamMobile, a blog that often provides accurate details on unreleased Samsung products, claims that the company plans to ditch both the 3.5mm headphone jack and the physical Home button on its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone. The reports also confirm new details about the device’s display and other specs. 

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Unicode Consortium officially approves 72 new emoji, including bacon, selfie, and a clown face

It’s been essentially confirmed in the past, but today the Unicode Consortium officially unveiled the 72 new emoji that will be made available in Unicode 9. The latest batch of emoji include a variety of new foods, faces, objects, and sports. Unicode 9 is set to be released on June 21st, which means we may see these new emoji in Android N when it’s released to the public.

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Android Nougat is hitting several more Chromebooks including the ASUS C302CA

Android apps have yet to roll out to the majority of the Chrome OS ecosystem, but as they do, Google is perfecting the formula and making the functionality feel much more native. One of the biggest upgrades to this function to date has been Android Nougat, and now that rollout is extending to several more Chromebooks.

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HTC exploring business options, including sale of Vive VR division to full acquisition

While HTC has been somewhat buoyed by the positive reaction to its U11 flagship and the Vive virtual reality division, the Taiwanese company is now exploring “strategic options.” The possibilities range from selling its key VR business to a sale of the entire company.

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BlackBerry rolling out May security patch, stops selling older devices including Priv

BlackBerry is one of the quickest Android OEMs to push out monthly security updates, sometimes even beating Google to the punch. Now, with the Keyone about to hit the market, BlackBerry has pushed May’s Android security patch to its Android smartphones.

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Android Auto available on all Ford cars this year, including upgrades for last year’s models

Ford has announced that Android Auto will be coming this spring to all 2017 models equipped with its Sync 3 infotainment system. The 2017 Escape will be the first model to get it (like most car manufacturers, Ford starts selling its 2017 models early this year). The system will also support Apple’s CarPlay.

Ford was one of the first car manufacturers to sign up to Android Auto, but aside from telling us it would be integrated with its own infotainment system Sync, the company had gone rather quiet since then.

If you’re now kicking yourself that you bought a 2016 model last year, don’t worry …

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Samsung Pay now works with 19 new cards, including PNC Visa and KeyBank MasterCard

Samsung has announced that its Samsung Pay service has added 19 new card issuers in the USA, including ‘eligible’ PNC Visa credit and debit cards and KeyBank MasterCard credit and debit cards. The new banks and credit unions were first promised back in October.

New Visa issuers supported include TCF Bank, Central Florida Educators Federal Credit Union, Financial Center Federal Credit Union, Greater Kinston Federal Credit Union, Keypoint Credit Union, Numerica Credit Union, Utah Community Credit Union, Amegy Bank National Association, California Bank and Trust and Pentagon Federal Credit Union. Additional new MasterCard issuers supported include Achieva Credit Union, Associated Bank, Bayport Credit Union, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Cambridge Savings Bank, USC Credit Union and Navy Federal Credit Union.

A full list of supported cards and banks can be found here.

There’s still time to get a free Best Buy gift card by activating the mobile payment service before the end of the year.